Lindsey Graham, McCain: Military Cuts 'DOA' in Senate
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 11:41 AM
The Pentagon's proposed budget for next year, which seeks to shrink the size of the U.S. military to pre-World War II levels, will effectively be dead on arrival when it reaches the Senate, senior Republican lawmakers say.
"We are going to kill it, not let it happen," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told The Hill, adding it was an "ill-conceived, ill-designed, bad defense policy, detached from reality – I am running out of adjectives."
Republicans say the reductions proposed in the 2015 budget, which was unveiled by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday, could endanger U.S. national security at a time of increasing global threats.
"We live in an ever increasingly dangerous world and this budget is out of touch with reality," Arizona Sen. John McCain said, according to The Hill. "Many of the cuts that they are proposing will not be enacted. It's obvious these cuts are ignoring the lessons of history."
The $496 billion budget would maintain a military capable of defeating any enemy but reduce it to levels that would preclude any long foreign occupations while increasing the risk to U.S. forces should they be required to carry out two large-scale military actions at the same time.
Overall, the Army would drop by roughly 20 percent over the next several years from 540,000 troops to 440,000 troops. The plans would also reduce operations for 11 Navy cruisers, and cut the Air Force's fleet of A-10 attack jets and U-2 spy planes.
"I just think it is taking the Army down to a level where you restrain your ability to fight the war that comes your way. The best way to fight a war is deterrence, and I think readiness at the number you are talking about, I just don't think [the Army] is equipped for the threats you face," Graham said.
Meanwhile, it appears that the proposed sweeping defense cuts could be driven by the Obama administration's intention to make significant increases in other areas of domestic spending, Fox News reports.
A Congressional Budget Office report found that mandatory spending, which includes Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, is projected to rise 4 percent this year from $85 billion to $2.1 trillion. Interest on the debt is projected to increase 14 percent per year, bring the total spending on interest higher than total national defense spending.